Christian Churches of God
(Edition 2.0 19980422-20081122)
The Restoration under King Josiah had a number of significant features which are of importance to our understanding as Christians today.
In the Sanctification of the Temple paper we examined the process of Sanctification and the Restoration under a number of different rulers. That paper also examined the importance for the restoration of the creation stemming from the first day of the first month and the sudden activity of God in this process. Between the restoration under Hezekiah and the restoration under Ezra there was a significant restoration under Josiah, which was the last under Solomon’s Temple.
Within a few decades after the restoration of Hezekiah, the nation had lapsed into apostasy under Assyrian domination. Assyria had been warned by Jonah, and Nineveh was spared because of their repentance. However, they lapsed back into the Easter and Sun-worshipping Cults and Israel and Judah followed them. Most of Israel had been taken into captivity by the Assyrians.
Jeroboam as king of Israel had made a system of worship that paralleled the system of God but he had established within that system the worship of the Golden Calves, which was part of the ancient Babylonian system of the worship of the Moon God Sin (cf. the paper The Golden Calf (No. 222)).
He had also set a feast on the eighth month as we saw in the paper Jeroboam and the Hillel Calendar (No. 191) (cf. the paper Golgotha: the Place of the Skull (No. 217)).
1Kings 12:32-33 And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar. So did he in Bethel, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made. 33 So he offered upon the altar which he had made in Bethel the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart; and ordained a feast unto the children of Israel: and he offered upon the altar, and burnt incense. (KJV)
During this apostasy and false religious system that Jeroboam had set up God raised up a prophet to deal with this apostasy. God does nothing without warning His people through His servants the prophets, before He decides to act.
1Kings 13:1-6 And, behold, there came a man of God out of Judah by the word of the LORD unto Bethel: and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense. 2 And he cried against the altar in the word of the LORD, and said, O altar, altar, thus saith the LORD; Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men's bones shall be burnt upon thee. 3 And he gave a sign the same day, saying, This is the sign which the LORD hath spoken; Behold, the altar shall be rent, and the ashes that are upon it shall be poured out. 4 And it came to pass, when king Jeroboam heard the saying of the man of God, which had cried against the altar in Bethel, that he put forth his hand from the altar, saying, Lay hold on him. And his hand, which he put forth against him, dried up, so that he could not pull it in again to him. 5 The altar also was rent, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of the LORD. 6 And the king answered and said unto the man of God, Intreat now the face of the LORD thy God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored me again. And the man of God besought the LORD, and the king's hand was restored him again, and became as it was before. (KJV)
In like manner the prophets themselves are subject to the instructions of God departing neither to the left nor to the right from that which they are given to do. This prophet was told specifically what to do in this matter as we see from verse 9.
1Kings 13:7-10 And the king said unto the man of God, Come home with me, and refresh thyself, and I will give thee a reward. 8 And the man of God said unto the king, If thou wilt give me half thine house, I will not go in with thee, neither will I eat bread nor drink water in this place: 9 For so was it charged me by the word of the LORD, saying, Eat no bread, nor drink water, nor turn again by the same way that thou camest. 10 So he went another way, and returned not by the way that he came to Bethel. (KJV)
When a prophet has a commission from God he is to obey even when another prophet tells him he has contrary instructions from the Lord. In this case the prophet was duped by one of his fellow prophets.
1Kings 13:13-32 And he said unto his sons, Saddle me the ass. So they saddled him the ass: and he rode thereon, 14 And went after the man of God, and found him sitting under an oak: and he said unto him, Art thou the man of God that camest from Judah? And he said, I am. 15 Then he said unto him, Come home with me, and eat bread. 16 And he said, I may not return with thee, nor go in with thee: neither will I eat bread nor drink water with thee in this place: 17 For it was said to me by the word of the LORD, Thou shalt eat no bread nor drink water there, nor turn again to go by the way that thou camest. 18 He said unto him, I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the LORD, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water. But he lied unto him. 19 So he went back with him, and did eat bread in his house, and drank water. 20 And it came to pass, as they sat at the table, that the word of the LORD came unto the prophet that brought him back: 21 And he cried unto the man of God that came from Judah, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Forasmuch as thou hast disobeyed the mouth of the LORD, and hast not kept the commandment which the LORD thy God commanded thee, 22 But camest back, and hast eaten bread and drunk water in the place, of the which the LORD did say to thee, Eat no bread, and drink no water; thy carcase shall not come unto the sepulchre of thy fathers. 23 And it came to pass, after he had eaten bread, and after he had drunk, that he saddled for him the ass, to wit, for the prophet whom he had brought back. 24 And when he was gone, a lion met him by the way, and slew him: and his carcase was cast in the way, and the ass stood by it, the lion also stood by the carcase. 25 And, behold, men passed by, and saw the carcase cast in the way, and the lion standing by the carcase: and they came and told it in the city where the old prophet dwelt. 26 And when the prophet that brought him back from the way heard thereof, he said, It is the man of God, who was disobedient unto the word of the LORD: therefore the LORD hath delivered him unto the lion, which hath torn him, and slain him, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake unto him. 27 And he spake to his sons, saying, Saddle me the ass. And they saddled him. 28 And he went and found his carcase cast in the way, and the ass and the lion standing by the carcase: the lion had not eaten the carcase, nor torn the ass. 29 And the prophet took up the carcase of the man of God, and laid it upon the ass, and brought it back: and the old prophet came to the city, to mourn and to bury him. 30 And he laid his carcase in his own grave; and they mourned over him, saying, Alas, my brother! 31 And it came to pass, after he had buried him, that he spake to his sons, saying, When I am dead, then bury me in the sepulchre wherein the man of God is buried; lay my bones beside his bones: 32 For the saying which he cried by the word of the LORD against the altar in Bethel, and against all the houses of the high places which are in the cities of Samaria, shall surely come to pass. (KJV)
This prophet in Israel was testing the prophet of Judah to see if what he said was true. The fact that he lied and cost the man his life was only an afterthought. However, it was true and the restoration was to be effected by Josiah who was named by God and nominated as a child to rule and restore Israel from the House of David.
At the end of this period of intense idolatry in both Israel and Judah, the king of Judah was Manasseh and he had not only led Judah to idolatry, he shed innocent blood so much that he filled Jerusalem with it from one end to another (2Kgs. 21:16). He died and Amon his son reigned in his stead and did the same thing.
2Kings 21:19-26 Amon was twenty and two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned two years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Meshullemeth, the daughter of Haruz of Jotbah. 20 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, as his father Manasseh did. 12 And he walked in all the way that his father walked in, and served the idols that his father served, and worshipped them: 22 And he forsook the LORD God of his fathers, and walked not in the way of the LORD. 23 And the servants of Amon conspired against him, and slew the king in his own house. 24 And the people of the land slew all them that had conspired against king Amon; and the people of the land made Josiah his son king in his stead. 25 Now the rest of the acts of Amon which he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? 26 And he was buried in his sepulchre in the garden of Uzza: and Josiah his son reigned in his stead. (KJV)
Here Amon (meaning an architect or skilled workman) was slain by his servants. The people, who seemingly desired Amon’s line to continue, then slew the servants.
So here the prophecy commences. A child is brought to the throne and God then commences to work with him.
2Kings 22:1-2 Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty and one years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah of Boscath. 2 And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in all the way of David his father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left. (KJV)
This king was brought up in the ways of God from his youth and did not deviate. He was to be used in this way and the time dictated the way he had to operate.
In his eighteenth year of reign, he was used of God at the customary age of twenty five years, being the age for enrolment in the service of the temple as was the case with Hezekiah in his restoration (cf. the paper Sanctification of the Temple of God (No. 241)).
So Josiah was used from the age of 25 years, in the eighteenth year of his reign. God used him in this way:
2Kings 22:3-13 And it came to pass in the eighteenth year of king Josiah, that the king sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, the son of Meshullam, the scribe, to the house of the LORD, saying, 4 Go up to Hilkiah the high priest, that he may sum the silver which is brought into the house of the LORD, which the keepers of the door have gathered of the people: 5 And let them deliver it into the hand of the doers of the work, that have the oversight of the house of the LORD: and let them give it to the doers of the work which is in the house of the LORD, to repair the breaches of the house, 6 Unto carpenters, and builders, and masons, and to buy timber and hewn stone to repair the house. 7 Howbeit there was no reckoning made with them of the money that was delivered into their hand, because they dealt faithfully. 8 And Hilkiah the high priest said unto Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of the LORD. And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it. 9 And Shaphan the scribe came to the king, and brought the king word again, and said, Thy servants have gathered the money that was found in the house, and have delivered it into the hand of them that do the work, that have the oversight of the house of the LORD. 10 And Shaphan the scribe shewed the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest hath delivered me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king. 11 And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the book of the law, that he rent his clothes. 12 And the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Achbor the son of Michaiah, and Shaphan the scribe, and Asahiah a servant of the king's, saying, 13 Go ye, enquire of the LORD for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that is found: for great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us. (KJV)
God set in Josiah a desire to obey him. When Josiah was shown that Judah had not obeyed the law he was able to act on that information and repent and make the necessary changes to conform to the wishes of God and the Law.
He knew that unless he acted God would destroy them. Through his advisers, they then sought advice from the prophets.
2Kings 22:14-20 So Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam, and Achbor, and Shaphan, and Asahiah, went unto Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe; (now she dwelt in Jerusalem in the college;) and they communed with her. 15 And she said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Tell the man that sent you to me, 16 Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the words of the book which the king of Judah hath read: 17 Because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the works of their hands; therefore my wrath shall be kindled against this place, and shall not be quenched. 18 But to the king of Judah which sent you to enquire of the LORD, thus shall ye say to him, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, As touching the words which thou hast heard; 19 Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the LORD, when thou heardest what I spake against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard thee, saith the LORD. 20 Behold therefore, I will gather thee unto thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered into thy grave in peace; and thine eyes shall not see all the evil which I will bring upon this place. And they brought the king word again. (KJV)
By the obvious repentance of the leaders the evil was averted for the foreseeable future. Thus Josiah acted by faith on the words of the prophets and the Law of God.
From chapter 23 we can see exactly what the pollution of Israel was. It was the worship of the sun system of the Babylonians and the Egyptians, as we saw from Sinai as typified by the Golden Calf system (see the paper The Golden Calf (No. 222)). This system is still extant in Israel and our peoples and it will bring about our destruction (cf. the paper The Origins of Christmas and Easter (No. 235)).
We can also see from the texts that the timing was in the build up to the Passover but this was no ordinary Passover. The name Josiah is actually Yo’shiYah (SHD 2977) meaning Founded of Yah or the Gift of Yah or, from the root asa, meaning then, the healing of Yah. This prophecy was made so that we would see that this restoration was founded of Yah. As a name Yah is the singular form of which Yahovah is derived being plural in usage.
From this restoration the Temple was also cleaned of its abominations and filth.
2Kings 23:1-20 And the king sent, and they gathered unto him all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem. 2 And the king went up into the house of the LORD, and all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with him, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the people, both small and great: and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant which was found in the house of the LORD. 3 And the king stood by a pillar, and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all their heart and all their soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people stood to the covenant. 4 And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, and the priests of the second order, and the keepers of the door, to bring forth out of the temple of the LORD all the vessels that were made for Baal, and for the grove, and for all the host of heaven: and he burned them without Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron, and carried the ashes of them unto Bethel. 5 And he put down the idolatrous priests, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem; them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the host of heaven. 6 And he brought out the grove from the house of the LORD, without Jerusalem, unto the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron, and stamped it small to powder, and cast the powder thereof upon the graves of the children of the people. 7 And he brake down the houses of the sodomites, that were by the house of the LORD, where the women wove hangings for the grove. 8 And he brought all the priests out of the cities of Judah, and defiled the high places where the priests had burned incense, from Geba to Beersheba, and brake down the high places of the gates that were in the entering in of the gate of Joshua the governor of the city, which were on a man's left hand at the gate of the city. 9 Nevertheless the priests of the high places came not up to the altar of the LORD in Jerusalem, but they did eat of the unleavened bread among their brethren. 10 And he defiled Topheth, which is in the valley of the children of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or his daughter to pass through the fire to Molech. 11 And he took away the horses that the kings of Judah had given to the sun, at the entering in of the house of the LORD, by the chamber of Nathanmelech the chamberlain, which was in the suburbs, and burned the chariots of the sun with fire. 12 And the altars that were on the top of the upper chamber of Ahaz, which the kings of Judah had made, and the altars which Manasseh had made in the two courts of the house of the LORD, did the king beat down, and brake them down from thence, and cast the dust of them into the brook Kidron. 13 And the high places that were before Jerusalem, which were on the right hand of the mount of corruption, which Solomon the king of Israel had builded for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Zidonians, and for Chemosh the abomination of the Moabites, and for Milcom the abomination of the children of Ammon, did the king defile. 14 And he brake in pieces the images, and cut down the groves, and filled their places with the bones of men. 15 Moreover the altar that was at Bethel, and the high place which Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, had made, both that altar and the high place he brake down, and burned the high place, and stamped it small to powder, and burned the grove.
The entire system of the worship of Baal and Ashtoreth; of Easter and the Venus/Morning Star system and the Moon God system of Sin as Milcom and Chemosh and the Bull slaying mystery and sun cults we see evident in the Aryans systems even to this day in Europe among their descendants. Following on from this system was the cult prostitution of the Sodomites which had been placed in the very temple of God. The chariots of Apollo and the Mysteries found in the north and in Europe were here on Zion and in the Temple.
The entire Assyrian/Babylonian system we now see in Europe was entrenched among them by their Assyrian overlords. It was so entrenched that the people did not even realise that their system was a stench in the nostrils of God. They had been worshipping that way for centuries both before and after Hezekiah’s reformation. They did not know or want to know they were idolaters and in danger of destruction. That is exactly the system we have today. The priests know and do not declare the truth and the people perish for lack of vision. In this case Josiah himself saw the need for reform. God used him when he came of age under the law as He had used Hezekiah before him.
It is also evident that God supported Josiah’s faith and weakened the Assyrian hold over Judah as he worked to the truth and established God’s Laws.
16 And as Josiah turned himself, he spied the sepulchres that were there in the mount, and sent, and took the bones out of the sepulchres, and burned them upon the altar, and polluted it, according to the word of the LORD which the man of God proclaimed, who proclaimed these words. 17 Then he said, What title is that that I see? And the men of the city told him, It is the sepulchre of the man of God, which came from Judah, and proclaimed these things that thou hast done against the altar of Bethel. 18 And he said, Let him alone; let no man move his bones. So they let his bones alone, with the bones of the prophet that came out of Samaria. 19 And all the houses also of the high places that were in the cities of Samaria, which the kings of Israel had made to provoke the LORD to anger, Josiah took away, and did to them according to all the acts that he had done in Bethel. 20 And he slew all the priests of the high places that were there upon the altars, and burned men's bones upon them, and returned to Jerusalem. (KJV)
Josiah did what God commanded him to do concerning these Sodomite Priests. He put them to death. The prophecy was fulfilled and it was known that it and the sequence from the time when it had been made were fulfilled.
Timing of the Restoration
The timing of the restoration is of significance.
Josiah reigned in Judah from ca. 640-609 BCE.
Josiah began to seek the God of his father David from the eighth year of his reign (ca 632 BCE cf. 2Chr. 34:3a). God rewarded their faith by weakening the Assyrian hold over the provinces in the South and West (cf. Interpreters Dictionary of the Bible, art, “Josiah”, vol. 2, p. 997). This strengthening of his ability and power led up to the year 628.
In the twelfth year of his reign (ca 628 BCE), (i.e when he became a man at twenty), he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem (2Chr. 34:3b-5).
2Chronicles 34:3-5 For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father: and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem from the high places, and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images. 4 And they brake down the altars of Baalim in his presence; and the images, that were on high above them, he cut down; and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images, he brake in pieces, and made dust of them, and strowed it upon the graves of them that had sacrificed unto them. 5 And he burnt the bones of the priests upon their altars, and cleansed Judah and Jerusalem. (KJV)
After this he then extended his efforts to the areas of the remnants of Manasseh, Ephraim and as far as Napthali.
2Chronicles 34:6-7 And so did he in the cities of Manasseh, and Ephraim, and Simeon, even unto Naphtali, with their mattocks round about. 7 And when he had broken down the altars and the groves, and had beaten the graven images into powder, and cut down all the idols throughout all the land of Israel, he returned to Jerusalem. (KJV)
With the finding of the Book of the Law in the temple, in the eighteenth year of his reign (ca 622) he carried out the great religious reform which had political implications for the rule of the country as well (2Chr. 34:8-35:19; cf. Interp. Dict., ibid.).
The account in Chronicles states that Manasseh has removed the Assyrian emblems of worship and mentions only the Canaanite as being removed by Josiah and this is held to be in conflict with the account in 2Kings where Josiah is said to have removed the lot. The answer is obvious.
Manasseh, son of Hezekiah, removed them on his repentance but it was not a restoration and Amon and his administration replaced them and it was for this reason that he was killed (cf. 2Chr. 33:23).
The account in 2Kings does not break up the sequence of the reformation as we see in Chronicles. It appears from the two accounts that from the eighteenth year he commenced extending that to the cities of Samaria. The answer here is that this process obviously was not successfully completed until the eighteenth year of his reign. The cities of Samaria by this time were also inhabited by Cutheans and Medes placed there by the Assyrians (see paper The Sign of Jonah and the History of the Reconstruction of the Temple (No. 13)) and this purging was not finally effected until 622 BCE.
There were a number of events that needed to be accomplished in conjunction with the restoration and only God could do that.
The commencement of the weakening of Assyrian power was on the death of Assurbanipal which can be dated to 630 BCE (Interp. Dict., ibid.). According to the Babylonian Chronicles Babylon revolted against the Assyrians and placed Nabopolassar on the throne of Babylon on the date coinciding with November 22/23 626 BCE. For a year previously it was recorded that “there was no king in the land” (ibid).
Thus from Josiah’s earnest activities we see the events transpire where Assurbanipal had died, weakening Assyria and there was no king in the land in 627 BCE. In this year Assyria was fully occupied with activities in the East and God had obviously cleared their influence over Judah in the south-west for Josiah to commence the liberation leading up to the restoration of 622.
The Jubilee year was in 624 BCE. The restoration had been long in the preparation. The restoration of Hezekiah may even have been instrumental in the preparation for the preservation of the Book of the Law and the blueprint for the restoration. This was found perhaps from Hezekiah’s (ca. 715-687 BCE) reformation by Hilkiah. It is thought by some to have been prepared during the reign of Manasseh some fifty years previously (Interp. Dict. ibid. p. 997). Thus the patterns of the restorations were similar. Hezekiah began his restoration in the first day of the first month of the sacred year 715/14 when he also began to reign. This restoration commenced in the ninth year of the cycle of the previous Jubilee. It was not coincidental with the Jubilee but was preliminary to the later restoration which took place ninety-one years afterwards.
A major question also here is: Where was Jeremiah at the time of this restoration? Why were they consulting a minor prophet when the greatest prophet of Israel at the time was still alive? The obvious answer is that Jeremiah was absent. This is another matter. He only has this to say of Josiah when speaking to Jehoiakim Josiah’s son:
Jeremiah 22:15-16 Shalt thou reign, because thou closest thyself in cedar? did not thy father eat and drink, and do judgment and justice, and then it was well with him? 16 He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well with him: was not this to know me? saith the LORD. (KJV)
The prophet Zephaniah was also likely to have been alive and he also was not consulted.
It is from this restoration of Josiah that modern biblical scholars hold the book of Deuteronomy and the work of the Deuteronomist scribes to have been written from 622 BCE and revised in 560 BCE (ibid., cf. the paper The Bible (No. 164)).
The reason behind this view is the detail of Chronicles against the account in 2Kings. Certainly the restoration under Hezekiah copied out the extant canon of the Scriptures even to the Proverbs of Solomon (cf. Interp. Dict. ibid., art. “Hezekiah”, p. 598). The Scribal work under Manasseh was central also to the restoration. There were in effect two elements of the restoration prior to the Jubilee under Josiah and the subsequent restoration in the first year of the new Jubilee. For this restoration there was a massive amount of work over a period of years in the previous Jubilee. This work was itself following on from the work done in the previous Jubilee under Hezekiah and some work done under the apostate and backsliding Manasseh.
What we see in the accounts is that there was no late Passover and the cleansing of the temple was in fact of a greater magnitude. The time frames are of importance in understanding what happened.
From 633/32 BCE, the year before the Sabbath (which should have involved the reading of the law and which did not) and leading into the first year of the last cycle of the Jubilee, Josiah began to follow God and to restore the faith. This involved firstly, the subjugation of the area, which was not really possible under Hezekiah, as Israel had gone into captivity.
Josiah did this until 628/27 BCE, which was the fourth year of the cycle. In 627/26, which was the fifth year of the cycle and the treble harvest, he had cleansed the land of the idols and burnt and ground them to powder. The years 625 and 624 were the Sabbath year and the Jubilee year respectively. In 623/22, the year of return of the new Jubilee, he began the restoration. This probably commenced after the blowing of the Jubilee at Atonement in 624. This was the eighteenth year of his reign. The Interpreters Dictionary (ibid., p. 997) places that year as 622 which is possible from the beginning of his reign in the sacred year 640/39 BCE.
The restoration was of an incredible magnitude as we see from the state of the temple. By 1 Nisan 623/2, being the first year of the new Jubilee, he had cleansed Israel and restored them to the faith. The Passover was once again operational in the Temple and the false and idolatrous priests were removed or dead.
The Passover feast is identified from 2Chronicles 35:1-19.
2Chronicles 35:1-19 Moreover Josiah kept a passover unto the LORD in Jerusalem: and they killed the passover on the fourteenth day of the first month. 2 And he set the priests in their charges, and encouraged them to the service of the house of the LORD, 3 And said unto the Levites that taught all Israel, which were holy unto the LORD, Put the holy ark in the house which Solomon the son of David king of Israel did build; it shall not be a burden upon your shoulders: serve now the LORD your God, and his people Israel, 4 And prepare yourselves by the houses of your fathers, after your courses, according to the writing of David king of Israel, and according to the writing of Solomon his son. 5 And stand in the holy place according to the divisions of the families of the fathers of your brethren the people, and after the division of the families of the Levites. 6 So kill the passover, and sanctify yourselves, and prepare your brethren, that they may do according to the word of the LORD by the hand of Moses. 7 And Josiah gave to the people, of the flock, lambs and kids, all for the passover offerings, for all that were present, to the number of thirty thousand, and three thousand bullocks: these were of the king's substance. 8 And his princes gave willingly unto the people, to the priests, and to the Levites: Hilkiah and Zechariah and Jehiel, rulers of the house of God, gave unto the priests for the passover offerings two thousand and six hundred small cattle, and three hundred oxen. 9 Conaniah also, and Shemaiah and Nethaneel, his brethren, and Hashabiah and Jeiel and Jozabad, chief of the Levites, gave unto the Levites for passover offerings five thousand small cattle, and five hundred oxen. 10 So the service was prepared, and the priests stood in their place, and the Levites in their courses, according to the king's commandment. 11 And they killed the passover, and the priests sprinkled the blood from their hands, and the Levites flayed them. 12 And they removed the burnt offerings, that they might give according to the divisions of the families of the people, to offer unto the LORD, as it is written in the book of Moses. And so did they with the oxen. 13 And they roasted the passover with fire according to the ordinance: but the other holy offerings sod they in pots, and in caldrons, and in pans, and divided them speedily among all the people. 14 And afterward they made ready for themselves, and for the priests: because the priests the sons of Aaron were busied in offering of burnt offerings and the fat until night; therefore the Levites prepared for themselves, and for the priests the sons of Aaron. 15 And the singers the sons of Asaph were in their place, according to the commandment of David, and Asaph, and Heman, and Jeduthun the king's seer; and the porters waited at every gate; they might not depart from their service; for their brethren the Levites prepared for them. 16 So all the service of the LORD was prepared the same day, to keep the passover, and to offer burnt offerings upon the altar of the LORD, according to the commandment of king Josiah. 17 And the children of Israel that were present kept the passover at that time, and the feast of unleavened bread seven days. 18 And there was no passover like to that kept in Israel from the days of Samuel the prophet; neither did all the kings of Israel keep such a passover as Josiah kept, and the priests, and the Levites, and all Judah and Israel that were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 19 In the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah was this passover kept. (KJV)
The removal of idolatry and backsliding was almost impossible because the people were inherently idolatrous. The religion of Israel and Judah has been tainted by the Sun-worshipping systems of the Aryans for millennia since the founding of Babylon and even before the accepted time of the flood.
The nations of Europe are still entrenched in this idolatrous system and it extends to the traditions of Islam and on into the religions of the East and the Americas. The lessons of Josiah’s restoration are a warning to the world of the last days and the restoration under Messiah.
Fall of the Assyrians
God did not act in this restoration in isolation. The Assyrians had been given a warning under Jonah and they repented as Israel had done under Hezekiah. However they did not stay repentant and they inflicted their false religious system on Israel and Judah after they had been used by God to subdue Israel for its apostasy.
The Babylonian kingdom began to gain the ascendancy over the Assyrians and the records of the Babylonian Chronicles give a picture of that kingdom from 626-623 BCE. A break followed in the record to 616 BCE (Interp. Dict., ibid., p. 997).
In 614 Assur fell to Cyaxares the king of the Medes. The city had fallen before the arrival of Nabopolassar but a treaty was made between the Medes and the Babylonians. In 612 Nineveh fell to a combined assault and the Assyrians withdrew to Harran, where Ashuruballit II tried to restore the Assyrian Empire. He was compelled to withdraw from Harran in 610 despite Egyptian reinforcements. The Babylonians and Medes captured the city and held it against a strong combined force of Assyrians and Egyptians in 609 BCE.
Josiah met his death in the battle of Megiddo. He saw himself being forced to fight in trying to prevent the Egyptians under Pharaoh Necho from joining forces with the Assyrians. Josiah was probably acting in support of the Babylonians who he saw as potential allies. Josiah, even after this power that had been placed on him by God, did not heed the warnings given to him by God, even from Necho’s own mouth. He sought to interfere in the battles to go in support of Babylon who would become the adversary and destroyer of Judah and its religious system as previously foretold and as we see later from the prophet Daniel (cf. Daniel chapter 2). The Egyptians were being brought down by God and He used them to prepare the way into captivity of the nation.
2Chronicles 35:20-27 After all this, when Josiah had prepared the temple, Necho king of Egypt came up to fight against Carchemish by Euphrates: and Josiah went out against him. 21 But he sent ambassadors to him, saying, What have I to do with thee, thou king of Judah? I come not against thee this day, but against the house wherewith I have war: for God commanded me to make haste: forbear thee from meddling with God, who is with me, that he destroy thee not. 22 Nevertheless Josiah would not turn his face from him, but disguised himself, that he might fight with him, and hearkened not unto the words of Necho from the mouth of God, and came to fight in the valley of Megiddo. 23 And the archers shot at king Josiah; and the king said to his servants, Have me away; for I am sore wounded. 24 His servants therefore took him out of that chariot, and put him in the second chariot that he had; and they brought him to Jerusalem, and he died, and was buried in one of the sepulchres of his fathers. And all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah. 25 And Jeremiah lamented for Josiah: and all the singing men and the singing women spake of Josiah in their lamentations to this day, and made them an ordinance in Israel: and, behold, they are written in the lamentations. 26 Now the rest of the acts of Josiah, and his goodness, according to that which was written in the law of the LORD, 27 And his deeds, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah. (KJV)
2Kings 23:29 says he was killed and his servants brought him back to Jerusalem where he was buried. 2Chronicles implies he was seriously wounded in the battle and his servants brought him back to Jerusalem and all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah (2Chr. 35:24). The obvious answer to any conflict here is that he was seriously wounded and died on the return to Jerusalem.
Josiah was spared to enact the reformation but the prophecies had already been put in place. God was going to bring about the captivity of Judah because of its idolatry and its false religious system. That system is still extant on the planet and the most prolific and endemic religious system in the world.
God is bringing about a greater transformation and reformation; greater than these restorations that were given to us for our example. Israel went into captivity to the Assyrians ca 721 BCE. Judah repented and was preserved but fell into idolatry and followed Israel twenty-five years after the Jubilee prior to Josiah’s restoration. From the Jubilee of 724 BCE Israel was taken into captivity so that by 721 they were a captive nation. From 715 God restored Judah so that the captivity of Judah would be delayed and Judah would be kept separate from the body of Israel. Judah was not defeated until after the fall of the Assyrians and from 612 BCE we see the Assyrians and the Hittites and their associated tribes disappear from the scene to be replaced by the Babylonians and the Medes and Persians.
The activities in the eighth century BCE are akin to those in the twentieth century leading up to the Jubilee of 2027/28. The Babylonians took power under Nebuchadnezzar at the battle of Carchemish in 605 BCE. By 525 under Cambyses they had occupied Egypt and became the dominant power. That system was to last seven times or 2520 years until 1996.
From 632 BCE the power of the dominant Assyrians began to be destroyed and over the period of twenty-seven years Assyria was destroyed and Babylon was established. To accomplish this, the wars weakening Israel and sending them into captivity commenced from one hundred and twenty-odd years previously.
In the twentieth century the power of the English-speaking peoples has been weakened and a series of World Wars has bled it white. Judah has also been bled white with the Holocaust up until 1945 and the subsequent wars.
Shortly, the entire world will be brought to repentance. In the same way that Egypt was brought down to the valley of Megiddo and to destroy Josiah, so too will the nations be brought down to Megiddo and destroyed. The religious system of this world instituted by the Assyro-Babylonians and the Egyptians will be destroyed. From the next Jubilee there will be a restoration that will see a new religious restoration and order established and the world will be ruled under a different system of law with a new religious order based on righteousness and justice and upright behaviour. This is also mirrored by the restoration of the second Temple system under Ezra and Nehemiah. In the same way the Sanctification of the Temple (cf. the paper Sanctification of the Temple of God (No. 241)) must start with the priesthood and the temple of God and extend to the world through their activities. In like manner the world is prepared.
God destroyed the world by flood and on the first day of the first month the Ark was uncovered and the ground was uncovered (Gen. 8:13). It was however in the second month on the twenty-seventh day of the month that the earth was dry enough to walk upon and the sons of Noah could settle the earth (Gen. 8:14-19). This restoration showed that the period of occupation was fifty days from the date of the sanctification of the simple and the erroneous of the world on the seventh of Nisan, and not from the Passover and not from the first day of the first month. By the activity of the elect is the world made ready for the Messiah. Ten days prior to Pentecost and seemingly fifty days from Seven Nisan, Christ ascended to heaven to make it possible for man to set foot in the heavens.
From the First Month to the Seventh Month
This sequence of the first restoration culminated in Messiah. The sequence of this age is illustrated by the sequence of the first month.
The first month on the first day of the month the sanctification of the Temple of God occurs which Temple we are (1Cor. 3:16; 6:19).
The seventh day of the month is the sanctification of the simple and the erroneous. This activity is required for the physical creation now and in the millennium and is one of two distinctions between Nisan and Tishri which otherwise mirror the same plan and actions.
The tenth day of the first month sees the setting aside of the lamb which commences the process of redemption and the capacity for the first-fruits to be offered to and accepted by God.
The fourteenth day of the first month is the feast of the Passover. All restorations in this age commence from and involve the first month leading up to the sacrifice and the partaking of the body and blood of Christ as the second sacrament of the elect. The first sacrament of the elect is baptism which is the first phase of the sanctification of the temple and ideally takes place after the Feast seasons and up to and between the first and seventh of Nisan and prior to the 14th day of the First month.
The Feast of the Passover and Unleavened Bread are comprised of a single day and a seven-day period. This sequence mirrors the sacrifice and the preparation of the elect with the removal of sin and then the build up to Pentecost and the Harvest of the elect during the forty Jubilees in the wilderness.
There is a Holy Day at the beginning and end of Unleavened Bread with the first day or Passover Day of 14 Nisan being a preparation day. Unless the elect are holy they are not permitted to eat of the unleavened bread of the Passover which we saw with Josiah’s reformation where the priests of the High Places were not allowed to go to the Temple for the Passover. Thus idolatrous worship precludes the priesthood from the Passover at the Temple.
The distinction between the first and the seventh month is the assembly of Trumpets again on the New Moon or first day of the month, which heralds the intervention of Messiah in the activities of the world. He intervenes because of the elect and their existence and persistence as God’s people. They are identified from their activities and duties imposed and symbolised by the Sabbaths, New Moons, Festivals and activities from the First Month up to and including the receipt of the Spirit at Pentecost and the Feasts and Laws of God generally.
There is no fast on the seventh day of the month in the seventh month. Nothing that man can do now is relevant. The lamb has already been sacrificed and so the fast is on the tenth day of the seventh month where in the first month it had merely been set aside for sacrifice on the fourteenth day. In the seventh month the lamb that had been set-aside in heaven returns as the conquering king, symbolised by trumpets on the first day of the seventh month. On the tenth day of Atonement the world is reconciled and prepared for the Millennial reign. See also the paper The Ascents of Moses (No. 70).
The nations are dealt with on an ongoing basis. Just as Josiah had restored the temple and the law from the Passover and continued on for some thirteen odd years after 623/2 BCE until he went to Megiddo in 609 BCE to face the nations and died, so too the kingdom will pass from the hands of the kings into the hands of Messiah whose right it is.
The feast of Ingathering must take place with the offerings on the first evening of the feasts. The first day of Tabernacles is a Holy day as there is no activity required of human beings other than the ingathering offering which must not remain until the morning.
The seven Days of Tabernacles are the millennial equivalent of the seven days of Unleavened Bread. In the first instance Messiah died to enable the Passover Feast. The actions of humans are necessary to come out of the world.
In the seventh month the feast represents the rule of Messiah on the planet where there is no requirement to come out of the world as the whole world is under just rule and God’s law.
Thus the seventh or last day of Tabernacles is not a holy day as it represents the return of the world to the adversary and war.
The Last Great Day on the other hand is the eighth day which contrary to Unleavened Bread is at the end and not the beginning and is a holy day. Passover on the other hand is not a holy day because it represents the work of Messiah in the salvation of mankind.
The Last Great Day is a Holy Day because it represents the judgment in righteousness of the world and the final elimination of sin. It represents the coming of God to the earth and the City of God joined in the final restoration.
This final restoration is the end result of the plan of God.
Thus we see the Restorations and the Seven Great Passovers of the Bible have significance for the activities in the sequence of the Plan of God. See the paper The Seven Great Passovers of the Bible (No. 107).
Even though Josiah repented he had to die as the entire system he led had to be restored in its entirety through the elimination of the nations and Judah was not fit to do that as yet.
Hezekiah started the process and his son Manasseh tried but lapsed into idolatry and then repented. His son Amon was even worse than Manasseh at his worst. Josiah postponed the inevitable. However, it came under the Babylonians. The Temple was destroyed and the next restoration was to a different temple with a different structure as we saw with Ezra and Nehemiah. This was symbolic and looked towards Christ. The entire sequence of that temple was to bring in Messiah and judge Judah under the seventy weeks of years which ended in 70 CE (see the paper The Sign of Jonah and the History of the Reconstruction of the Temple (No. 13)).
We are in the lead up to the restoration under Messiah. Like Josiah’s restoration it is pointed to the Jubilee but there will be a rebellion against that restoration both at the beginning, which will necessitate an Ezra type restoration, and also at the end of the Millennium prior to the judgment. That is another story.
In order to help us see the comparative lessons we should view the sequence in chart form. The restoration of Ezra and Nehemiah was to the new or second temple.
Hezekiah’s restoration was on the instigation of God. This restoration was followed by a lapse and another restoration again by inspired prophecy. This commenced in the seven-year cycle prior to the Jubilee. This is again represented by the seven year period seen in Trumpets and explained by the papers The Fall of Jericho (No. 142) and also The Seven Seals (No. 140) and The Seven Trumpets (No. 141).
The Messiah cuts short the last days by coming before the Jubilee of the next Millennium for example in the seven years before the Jubilee in 2027/28 i.e. around 2019/20. The Rebellion against Messiah sees the new system set up in the Millennium system as Ezra and Nehemiah were used.
A comparison chart might look like that attached and future events might very well appear as those listed in the chart:
Restoration of Israel under the kings
715/16 BCE Hezekiah’s restoration.
Israel backslides under Manasseh and Amon.
632 Josiah’s Restoration commences.
630 Assyrian king dies.
627 No king on the throne over the North.
624 The nation Israel and the Samaritans are subjugated and freed of idolatry.
624/23 Jubilee blown and the religious restoration of the populace commences.
623/22 The Passover of the Restoration is held. (break in the record occurs)
616 The Medes emerge as the leaders against the Assyrians and Egypt has allied itself to Assyria.
614 Assur falls to Cyaxares the Median king with a treaty made between the Medes and the Babylonians under Nabopolassar who arrived late for the fall of Assur.
612 Nineveh falls to a combined assault and Assyria removes to Harran where Ashuruballit II tries to restore the Assyrian Empire.
610 Ashuruballit II withdraws from Harran despite Egyptian assistance and the city falls to the Medes and Babylonians.
609 Josiah wounded and removed from the battle of Megiddo. Medes and Babylonians repulse the combined Egyptian Assyrian attack.
605-525 Times of the Gentiles begins.
598/97 Judah falls to the Babylonians and the old Temple system is destroyed.
539 Conquest of Babylon by Cyrus and Darius the Mede son of Astyages uncle of Cyrus.
423-410 The Second Temple is built. Seventy Weeks of years commences and ends 70 CE.
398-373/2 Ezra and Nehemiah restore the Temple system under Artaxerxes II.
Restoration under Messiah
1914/18 WWI. Wars of the end begin.
1917 Retaking of Palestine by British Commonwealth Forces and declaration of the Jewish Homeland.
1939 WWII begins.
1942 Holocaust commences.
1945 WWII ends.
1953 Egypt declares its independence.
1956 Suez crisis.
1996 End of the Times of the Gentiles. 2000 years or forty jubilees from the birth of Messiah. 3000th Anniversary of David’s entry to Jerusalem.
1997 Month of Years Begins. Removal of the worlds system of Priests, Princes and Prophets commences.
1998 Sabbath and 21st year of the 39th Jubilee since the mission of John the Baptist and Messiah in the Jubilee of 27/28 CE. First Reading of the Law at Booths for centuries.
1999-2019 Wars of the kings of the North and South and the destruction of the nations commences.
2019/20 Messiah commences the subjugation of the nations and the calling to Megiddo.
2027/28 The 40th Jubilee blown.
2028 Millennium begins.
Era of Just Rule under Bible Law begins.
War of the rebellion.
Restoration and construction of the Temple.
2997 + Satan released.
2997-3027 War of the Last Rebellion.
3028 Second Resurrection and Judgment of the Host and the World.
3127 Handover to Eloah and the City of God.
3128 First Great Passover of the Host.
For further study see also the following papers: